Jessica Chastain Tops the Box Office with #1 and #2 slots


I am not sure I’ve ever seen that happen, and especially not during Oscar season, but the hard-working actress has now taken the number one (Mama) and number two (Zero Dark Thirty) spots for the box office this weekend. That’s fairly amazing, wouldn’t you say?

In other box office news, at least so far, Silver Linings expanded its locations and took the third spot on Friday.

Shifting Landscape of Best Actress

Next Story »

Uppity Women: How Maya and Kathryn Bigelow Continue to Threaten the Status Quo


  1. filmboymichael
    January 19, 2013

    I just hope that Mama isn’t what EW called her potential ‘Norbit’.

  2. Yogsss
    January 19, 2013

    The motherfucker with the box office domination.

  3. Film Fatale
    January 19, 2013


    Have you, um, read any of the reviews for Mama or Chastain?

    This Norbit legend has to die — it’s one of the most played out and overstated myths of Oscar.

  4. flor
    January 19, 2013

    Go for that Oscar, Jess!!

  5. January 19, 2013

    Manohla Dargis, NYTimes:

    If you’re a movie fan, you know that horror doesn’t get much better than this, and when it comes to contemporary offerings it rarely gets more enjoyable than “Mama.” Instead of delivering buckets of guts and gore, this ghost story offers a strong sense of time and place, along with the kind of niceties that don’t often figure into horror flicks, notably pictorial beauty, an atmosphere throbbing with dread and actors so good that you don’t want anyone to take an ax to them.

    Ms. Chastain and her excellent child co-stars, an intensely matched set, embody their characters with soulful believability, whether they’re working together or creeping along a hallway solo. Left to their own devices these three initially circle one another warily… In “Mama” horror is intimate, domestic and overtly feminized, so much so that its monster opens up darkly oozing, Cronenbergian holes in the wall, a striking visual suggesting that the house itself has given birth to the demon.

    Mama is the AntiNorbit

  6. Tony
    January 19, 2013

    I hope she wins BIG at the Oscars! Not that her win will make any justice to ZDT, whose chances of winning anything else that evening are same as capturing Yeti taking a bath in Loch Ness.

  7. Eric
    January 19, 2013

    Between Mama and The House at the End of the Street, I’d take Mama in a heartbeat.

  8. Jerry
    January 19, 2013

    Good for Chastain. Mama’s $10 Million Friday opening is huge, will overperform the weekend. Now Chastain can start asking for the big bucks. :D

  9. Sasha Stone
    January 19, 2013

    It doesn’t even apply here because Mama is done by a respectable crew – it is hardly a money grab.

  10. January 19, 2013

    Zero Dark Thirty and Mama are to Jessica Chastain
    as The Hours and The Others are to Nicole Kidman.

  11. January 19, 2013

    Kathryn Bigelow’s previous top-grossing film, Point Break, earned $43M (adjusted for inflation $78M).

    By tomorrow, Zero Dark Thirty will have already earned $58M.

  12. filmboymichael
    January 19, 2013

    Um, film fatale – no need for the condescension. Was just relaying something that I read in EW. I happen to be firmly in Chastain’s corner and hope that she takes home the oscar.

    At 65% fresh rating on rottentomatoes and a 58 at meta critic, it’s not as universally loved as you imply. So, um, have you read the reviews for Mama?

  13. kasper
    January 19, 2013

    I thought Norbit was a critical success! Oh wait, that was just Armond White being contrarian.

  14. January 19, 2013

    Norbit has one lonely single solitary favorable review on Metacritic.
    Mama only has 3 negative reviews out of 28.

    Nobody is saying Mama is universally loved. But Norbit is most certainly universally derided.

    filmboymichael, Not attacking you for telling us what EW says.

    I’m just saying flat-out: Whoever at EW wrote the thing you’re sharing is an idiot.

  15. phantom
    January 19, 2013

    GREAT comparison, Ryan.

    It is so great to see a serious actress NOT chasing Box Office success (turned down a bunch of tentpoles including Iron Man 3 and Oblivion) and still getting it, how nice that artistic integrity still pays off every now and then.

    Jessica Chastain now carried two well-received No1 hits (Zero Dark Thirty, Mama), stole scenes in a big smash (The Help) and starred in two surprise No2 openers (The Debt, Lawless) and her three other recent films (The Tree of Life, Take Shelter, Coriolanus) though clearly not Box Office hits, are widely considered masterpieces. Now THAT is an actress who knows what she is doing.

    It is arguable that despite being the sole lead, she wasn’t the main draw with Zero Dark Thirty BUT considering Guillermo del Toro’s comparable title Don’t be afraid of the dark didn’t make 10M on its opening weekend let alone opening day, I think it’s fair to assume that Jessica Chastain DID become a Box Office draw by ‘Mama’ which is ridiculously impressive considering she was clearly not aiming for that, at least not if we look at her (very smart) career choices.

  16. phantom
    January 19, 2013

    I just checked the Mama poster, she did actually headline this one, so it shouldn’t be even a question whether she was a draw or not, she clearly was.

  17. danemychal
    January 19, 2013

    Ryan – I have the new EW in front of me. The big idiots calling “Mama” such things as “lightweight fare” and “throwaway flick” and comparing it to “Norbit” are none other than Tara Fowler and Josh Stillman. Even funnier is on the opposite page in the magazine, it has the review of “Mama” as a solid B from Gleiberman. Stupid, stupid.

  18. phantom
    January 19, 2013

    A week ago I feared that Mama could hurt Chastain’s Oscar chances because I was kind of sure it would get bad reviews but now that it received good ones AND is a big hit, I think it might just have sealed the deal for her Oscar-wise…that is IF she wins at least Bafta or SAG, she has massive competition for both (Riva/Lawrence and Lawrence/Watts respectively).

  19. filmboymichael
    January 19, 2013

    thanks ryan, and I’m not bashing Mama in any way shape or form. Those incessant, whispering commercials whispering ‘mama’ have been ingrained in my mind and I want to see it. Of course, I have always had a weakness for horror films anyway.

    And not to be nitpicky, but of those 28 reviews on meta critic, 12 are mixed to negative and 3 are negative.

  20. Jerry
    January 19, 2013

    Ryan, Zero Dark Thirty is at $43 Million today you think it’s going to be at $58 Million by tomorrow? (Honest question)
    To see how much Mama is over-performing, see the weekend predictions based on tracking. It was only supposed to have made mid-teens for the weekend. It has a B-cinemascore that could slow it down some but it will still overperform the weekend.

  21. danemychal
    January 19, 2013

    Jerry, the weekend BO “estimates” are already in. It’s estimated to be at $58 mil by end of the weekend.

  22. danemychal
    January 19, 2013

    Whoops, I read that wrong. I think he means $48 mil?

  23. January 19, 2013

    [Jessica Chastain] turned down a bunch of tentpoles including Iron Man 3 and Oblivion

    She didn’t, actually. She dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. Understandable, given how prolific she is.

    Jerry, I think Ryan is referring to where grosses will be once tomorrow’s figures have been counted. It currently stands at just under $43 million because Friday grosses haven’t yet been counted; include today’s and tomorrow’s grosses, and it should be there.

  24. Jerry
    January 19, 2013

    @Paddy, the $43 Million does include Friday’s grosses.
    So it will have to make an additional $15 Million to reach $58 Million by Sunday. It’s a holiday weekend so anything’s possible.

  25. J
    January 19, 2013

    For the record, this is not the first time Chastain has starred in the #1 & #2 films at the box office… She did the same last year with The Help/The Debt:

  26. Thomas
    January 19, 2013

    Just because Jessica Chastain is going to finish one and two at the box-office this weekend does not mean anything on the improvement of her Oscar chances. She is simply interesting right now to the American public becuase of her involvement in a movie that has become seriously shroaded in controvery. I do think she is a very good actress and win on oscar night, but this really will not play a factor. The Screen Actors Guild is still to come and a month later is Oscars. A serious shift can still occur either in her favor or her competitor Jennifer Lawrence. Then again, if too many people began having a problem on deciding between Chastain or Lawrence we could see Riva win instead. This Oscar season has proved to be very interesting and at this point anything could happen.

  27. January 19, 2013

    Ryan, Zero Dark Thirty is at $43 Million today you think it’s going to be at $58 Million by tomorrow? (Honest question)

    hey, Jerry. Paddy guessed correctly. I got that $58M figure from estimates of where ZDT’s cumulative might stand at the end of the 4-day holiday weekend. Adding a estimated $4M – $5M per day for the next 3 days.

  28. Jerry
    January 19, 2013

    “Adding an estimated $4M – $5M per day for the next 3 days.” Oh O.K. I see. Thanks Ryan.

  29. John
    January 19, 2013

    It must be quite the thing to be Chastain right now. 2 Oscar nods in 2 years. #1 and #2 movie at the box office. Getting cheers every night on Broadwway. Good for her!

    As for who’ll win the Oscar. Sheesh.

    I keep getting a feeling that Lawrence may miss. I know, I know, Weinstein.

    But she’s young, the role lacks the heft of Chastain’s, Chastain may have a lot of goodwill from the last 2 years built up, etc..

    But then again, it may just be Lawrence. Or Riva. That would be pretty cool.

  30. John
    January 19, 2013

    Just thought of this, too. If Julia Roberts couldn’t win in 1990 for something as wildly popular as ‘Pretty Woman’ and after 2 noms at an early age and being America’s sweetheart at the time … I wonder if the same might happen for Lawrence.

    I’m still predicting Lawrence, but wonder if Chastain/Riva can slide in.

  31. therealmike
    January 19, 2013

    Looking at that picture above and marveling at her beauty, I´m asking myself who was responsible for that hideous look at the Golden Globes? I´m really hoping she´ll be breathtaking at the Oscars.

  32. Lynne
    January 19, 2013

    I’m happy for Jessica Chastain renown success. I know she struggled for a very long time to make a name for herself, these past two years has been incredible run for Ms. CHastain!

  33. Jason
    January 19, 2013

    Wow. I don’t know if she will ever be able to repeat it, but having the number one and number two movie is fantastic. It must feel great after waiting to break out and doing a lot of work. I am hoping that she wins the Oscar, so she can kick ass for another 5 years. BTW, did Meryl Streep disappear? Hope she is okay.

  34. Robert A.
    January 19, 2013

    “If Julia Roberts couldn’t win in 1990 for something as wildly popular as ‘Pretty Woman’ and after 2 noms at an early age and being America’s sweetheart at the time … I wonder if the same might happen for Lawrence.”

    A couple of key differences, though. 1) Julia Roberts’ first nomination was in supporting actress. Pretty Woman was her first nomination in lead, while SLP is Lawrence’s second nomination in lead. 2) More importantly, I think Roberts was the only nomination for Pretty Woman that year. As a whole, I don’t think the Academy took the movie all that seriously. (Roberts nomination was considered somewhat of a surprise, I think). SLP has eight nominations, so AMPAS is clearly taking the film very seriously, which means Lawrence could also benefit from love of the movie itself.

  35. Antoinette
    January 19, 2013

    That’s great for her career. Not a big horror fan so I saw THE LAST STAND instead. 10/10, imho. Maybe 2013 will be another great year at the movies. :D

  36. aragorn
    January 19, 2013

    I am just curious how many people have seen either movie just because of her! ZDT is that controverial movie about Osama Bin Laden’s death and that shows torture.
    The other one is just a scary movie that always finds audience regardless of the star.
    I am not saying she is not good. She is a great actress but to say that she is a real box office magnet I’d like to see more evidence.
    By the way, the same thing can be said about J.Lawrence and Hunger Games. It didn’t make all that money just because of her!

  37. daveinprogress
    January 19, 2013

    Good for her. It will help her Oscar chances. Perception is a big factor in voting at this pointy end of the season. Visibility, versatility, likeability and perception of the craft will aid her campaign. I hope she gets the Oscar.

  38. Terometer
    January 19, 2013

    Mama is a critical horror. Norbit again? Tying to help or trying to kill her, coolers?

  39. Zach
    January 19, 2013

    It’s not Norbit, but it’s not exactly The Hunger Games. I’d say Jennifer Lawrence is still the more bankable bet even if THG had a built-in fanbase. But if Riva and Watts fall out of it, this race really will be between two very critically and commercially successful actresses. Given the overall weakness of the Best Actress field this year, that’s a definite bragging point.

  40. Vincent
    January 19, 2013

    The success of “Mama” may really help Chastain secure her Oscar win.

    Also, comparing Julia Robers and Jennifer Lawrence is strange because, well … Jennifer Lawrence can act circles around Roberts.

  41. bob w
    January 19, 2013

    except she can’t really get credit for ZD30 because you can barely tell she’s even in the movie based off of those horrible trailers– people aren’t seeing it because of her. Mama is probably also more about the “presented by del toro”… but it is still impressive, good for her!

  42. PJ
    January 19, 2013

    I doubt a tween skewing horror film with a B- cinemascore is something you want to be touting to Oscar voters.

  43. Natasha
    January 19, 2013

    An Oscar would do a LOT more for Chastain than for Lawrence. I think right now when the general populace (keep in mind this encompasses a LOT of different kinds of people) see their movies, they think “Oh I want to see that new horror movie or than controversial Osama Bin Laden torture movie” and then they find out–if they even do–that the female lead is Chastain whereas when Jennifer Lawrence is in a movie, people think “I wanna see that new JENNIFER LAWRENCE movie”….being that she is already such a mega-star.

    This is not saying who should win IMO (and Zero Dark Thirty, plus Amour for that matter, are the only BP nominees I haven’t seen at this point). I just think most people have a harder time drawing up the name “Jessica Chastain” from their reserves as opposed to “ZOMG she’s Mystique and Katniss Everdeen and her face is everywhere-Jennifer Lawrence.”

    It’s my hope to see ZDT soon–perhaps this weekend. Amour will be a harder feat to pull off–for now (is it playing in YOUR city? and I’m in a large metropolis)

  44. Ivan
    January 19, 2013

    Mama got mostly solid reviews. It currentely sits at 64% on Rotten Tomatoes and 58 on Metacritic .Lest we forget that Jennifer Lawrence was in “The House at the End of the Street” which sits at 11% on Rotten Tomatoes and 31 on Metacritic.

  45. phantom
    January 19, 2013


    “whereas when Jennifer Lawrence is in a movie, people think “I wanna see that new JENNIFER LAWRENCE movie””

    You might think that, but the problem with that theory is that there was only one ‘Jennifer Lawrence movie’ to date (House at the End of the Street) and it was universally panned by critics and an underperformer at the Box Office.

    Sure she was the lead of The Hunger Games, but let’s face it, she was probably as much the main draw there as Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty. So when it comes to their BO draw, their comparable titles are the ones they headlined, Mama and House at the End of the Street…one of those is a well-received BO hit, the other is not. Fact. And the Guillermo del Toro-argument won’t fly, if horror fans flock to see his films why couldn’t Don’t be afraid the dark muster the 10M on its opening weekend that Mama pulled off opening day ?

    Having said that, if Silver Linings Playbook manages to get to 100M in the US, that will be very impressive, but once again, it won’t be because it is a ‘Jennifer Lawrence movie’, she is definitely a draw there but only one of many : Hangover star Bradley Cooper, living legend Robert de Niro, agressive Weinstein-push, great Oscar-buzz etc.

  46. Zach
    January 19, 2013

    I don’t believe people are seeing Mama because of Chastain. But you’re right, Silver Linings is finally opening in wide and it’s not doing THAT well. It’s not Pretty Woman. Maybe it’ll be like When Harry Met Sally. If it does do well, she’s just one factor.

    Really, we have no Julia Roberts in the race–in terms of box office draw.

  47. ryo
    January 19, 2013

    not good strategy from weinstein

  48. Jason
    January 19, 2013

    Jessica Chastain and Bryce Dallas Howard look very similar in style. Are they related?

  49. January 19, 2013

    @Jason My favorite thing is that Chastain’s surname at birth according to the IMDb was Howard. Huh? Huh? Where Opie been? ;)

  50. moviewatcher
    January 19, 2013

    Just saw Zero Dark Thirty (finally, i know) and… what the hell are people so up about? Sure, I can see how someone can find controversy if they want to nitpick but… come one…

    It’s one hell of a movie. Great performances from chastain and clarke, amazing directing (like… were you expecting anything less?) and a great script. One of the best movies of the year, for sure.

  51. Jerry
    January 19, 2013

    Why is it so hard to give credit where credit is due? Yes both The Hunger Games and Horror flicks like Mama have built in audiences but it is also true that both flicks got better than expected reviews thanks to the performances of their female leads Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain. Good reviews encourage hesitant moviegoers and bring in new fans to both genres. The Hunger Games didn’t just open big but kept sustaining week after week to make one of the highest grosses for a new franchise. Bigger than the first Twilight film. No one predicted that. Fans of the book had to buy that Jennifer Lawrence is Katniss, they were hostile to her when she was first cast. Not every new franchise based on a popular book series survives or is accepted by book fans. Narnia didn’t survive, nor did I AM NUMBER 4, nor Tom Cruise and Tyler Perry’s recent attempts. Mama is OVER-PERFORMING all expectations this weekend so that too has to have some contribution from the lead Jessica Chastain. Maybe adults who don’t usually go for that type of stuff decided to give it a chance for an Oscar nominee?

  52. Nonn
    January 19, 2013

    I am pretty sure Leo DiCaprio had No. 1 and No. 2 with Titanic and Man in the Iron Mask back in the day. Though he was not nominated for an Oscar that year.

  53. Natasha
    January 19, 2013

    Jerry–has the Narnia series been written off completely? My thought was no–but it’s been a while since I checked on it.

    phantom–people are more likely to know who Lawrence is as opposed to Chastain at this given moment in time. In short, regardless of whatever either one of us said in each of our writing pieces, Chastain stands to gain more because Lawrence has become SOOOO high-profile due to the projects she has happened to choose–namely the Hunger Games. I don’t doubt that Chastain can gain on Lawrence easily, though–whether it is because of ZDT (even without a win perhaps?) or a combination of projects–or something else.

    Not many have manage to embed themselves into popular culture in one shot the way Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman did. Maybe there’s an arguable list we can compile? Maybe we’re (or at least I am )overestimating the effect of one flick and a particular person in it? Oh well, maybe that’s for another post/thread/etc.

  54. unlikely hood
    January 19, 2013

    Nothing against Jessica, but I’m more happy that because of her, Ah-nold failed, to, uh recall his past glory.

    Hey, if he didn’t want to induce schadenfreude he should have lost the accent.

  55. desmond
    January 19, 2013

    OT : ‘LIFE OF PI’ will reach $100 Million on next monday , Fox add more cinemas this weekend.

  56. Daveylow
    January 19, 2013

    Sometimes getting the Oscar seems to hurt actresses’ careers. Halle Berry anyone? What great film did Gwenyth Paltrow make after she won? What happened to Holly Hunter after she won? And then there’s the sad case of Louise Fletcher.

  57. Robert
    January 19, 2013

    Good for Chastain. I have really enjoyed her choices as an actor. I think of her as an “actor’s actor,” and will be rooting for her at the Oscars.

  58. Bridgie James Rosenthal
    January 19, 2013

    Jessica Chastain is the “heart and soul” of this news, not the Jessica vs. Jennifer Lawrence’s Oscar Best Actress “showdown”.

  59. Rob Y.
    January 19, 2013

    I love JC and JL.

    I thought Chastain’s performance in the Help was far more spot on than Spencer’s. I hope she wins for ZD30.

    I thought Lawrence’s Ree in Winter’s Bone was slightly better than Natalie Portman. I hope she wins for SLP.

  60. Filipe
    January 19, 2013

    One of these days I was watching The Help with my sister because it was on cable, then when the Celia Foote character appeared, she said “Wow, this girl is in a lot of movies, and all of them are very different from each other” (she said the same thing about Emma Stone later). She’s not a box office draw yet, but with two back-to-back Oscar nominations, her fame is uprising quite fast.
    I’m very happy for her, but still, I don’t think she should win this year, it’s Emanuelle Riva with the BEST LEADING PERFORMANCE of the year, with Daniel Day-Lewis right behind it.

  61. Filipe
    January 19, 2013

    Oh, and last year, I thought she should have won by a mile. Octavia Spencer is quite a comedic character, but Chastain showed more range. I pratically cried my eyes out two times (when she lost her baby and the final scene when she serves the food to her maid) with her, more than any other character.

  62. A.J
    January 19, 2013

    Mama is doing well because it’s a horror film. They always do well. Half of the ads I saw for it didn’t even mention Chastain’s name. Same goes for Zero Dark Thirty, actually. It’s being promoted as a Call of Duty type film with badass military folk. Don’t get me wrong, Chastain is great but let’s not fool ourselves and thinking it’s because of her the films are #1 and #2. If The Dark Knight Rises were released within a week of each other Anne Hathaway would’ve had a #1 and #2 too. If The Hunger Games and Silver Linings Playbook, with a wide release, were released within a week of eachother Jennifer Lawerence would’ve had a #1 and #2 as well. If Flight was released a week earlier John Goodman would’ve had a #1 and #2 with it along with Argo.

  63. JJ
    January 20, 2013

    Jennifer Lawrence is better than Chastain in ZD30 and should win. In fact, I think Chastain is more interesting in MAMA than ZD30. And was more interesting in The Help – she should have won over the sassy maid.

  64. January 20, 2013

    Excellent points Robert A.

    As far as JC VŠ JL, I go with JC.

    JL has time on her side

  65. John
    January 20, 2013

    I still think Jessica’s best performance was in The Help and I’ve seen me all (even Jolene).

  66. rufussondheim
    January 20, 2013

    Did anyone else catch Jennifer Lawrence on SNL last night?

    So many people say how amazing Jennifer Lawrence, and I agree, she’s great. But one thing many of her most ardent fans say “And she’s done it all without taking acting lessons!” as if it’s some badge of honor.

    Well, last night on SNL, especially during the monologue, one can see the lack of acting lessons. That monologue was atrocious. Sure she was nervous, but she had no clue how to deliver any of it. Nearly every line was poorly rendered. It was like she had no idea what was funny and what wasn’t. It was kind of embarrassing.

    That’s why she needs to take some acting lessons preferably in the Meissner technique.

  67. Jerry
    January 20, 2013

    @rufussondheim: if you want to see Jennifer Lawrence deliver good comedic lines with perfect timing watch any of her interviews or even awards speeches. She does it masterfully on her own with her own material, spontaneously. I don’t think SNL performances tell you much about actors, we watch it just to see our favorite movie actors brought inside our homes. The writing on that show is simply bad. Did you see any of the skits? Even the cold opening about Lance Armstrong, the football player and Jodie Foster that should have been a riot was just meh. SNL was great only when Tiny Fey was on it especially during the 2008 election.

    >>>>Back to the topic of MAMA. It came in #1 with $28 Million for the weekend. It will easily double it’s budget of $15 Million by tomorrow.

  68. Jerry
    January 20, 2013

    So Mama at #1 with $28 Million and Zero Dark Thirty at #2 with $17.6 Million for a Domestic total of $55.94 Million. So as predicted by Ryan should hit $58 Million on Monday.

  69. Jerry
    January 20, 2013

    O.K. the last bit of MAMA box-office news is that it did so well thanks to women. The two new films aimed at men (The Last Stand, Broken City) in contrast bombed. Pretty significant. Since ZD30 dropped only 28% from the following week, the assumption is that men chose that over the two new releases.

    “Mama prospered thanks to young females; women and teenage girls made up 61 percent of the audience, while an impressive 63 percent of the audience was under the age of 25. The horror pic, made for a modest $15 million, is clearly benefiting from its PG-13 rating.”

  70. Bobby C
    January 20, 2013

    Jessica FTW!!

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